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Time for experiments over: Dhoni

Press Trust Of India
Feb 25, 2012 at 11:54am IST

Sydney: Faced with a do-or-die situation, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is all set to field his three regular openers rather than experiment with a pinch hitter at the top of the order in Sunday's crucial tri-series One-dayer against Australia here.

"We have three genuine, proper openers. I see no good reason why I should sent in a pinch-hitter. All three score at a brisk pace, they are good at hitting boundaries as well as in taking singles.

"There is no requirement of a pinch hitter when all three are playing," said Dhoni, indicating the rotation policy is as good as over for the rest of the tournament.

Time for experiments over: Dhoni

MS Dhoni is all set to field his three regular openers rather than experiment with a pinch hitter.

With only two more league matches to go, a defeat for India would leave them just a solitary match against Sri Lanka and a must-win with a bonus point situation.

Citing an example of Mahela Jayawardene to show Sri Lanka's resurgence in the tournament as they have now won their last three matches with the captain opening and contributing with the bat with scores of 61, 45 and 85, Dhoni said, "The game has changed slightly with two new balls, one from each end. If the top order can spend more time and we have wickets in hands later, we could look to accelerate.

"That should be the mantra as of now. It's not been great going for us so far. Our strength is different from Sri Lanka and Australia. Sticking to your own strength is really important. It's important to keep learning from each and every game, especially in the areas where we have to improve as a side. It's important we don't repeat the mistakes we have been making as a team. It would help us do well."

"He has dropped down in pace a bit. From just over 130, he was bowling close to 125 and below and he was also fractionally short. In that case, if you are a batsman, you could cash in.

"If a bowler who is 140 plus, even if they are a fraction short, they can sometimes get away with bad balls. But at that (Praveen's) pace, it's difficult. We wanted him to work, he's been working and he's improved," insisted Dhoni.

Though young leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, who was impressive with his bounce and accuracy in two Twenty20 internationals and the first ODI he played in Melbourne, can also be a bowling option, Dhoni didn't seem inclined for such an option.

"You have to see if you are quite happy with two fast bowlers and three spinners. It could have a big impact. If a fast bowler has an off-day, it may become difficult to rotate with three spinners. If three fast bowlers and two spinners are there, then part-timers can do it. Otherwise, if one is injured, we are strangled with same kind of bowling attack.

But he (Rahul) has done well whatever games he has got."

One abiding theme of this tri-series has been the rather indifferent form of India's young middle order batsmen -- Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina and, to an extent, Virat Kohli.

"I am not disappointed with them. Everytime any individual goes to field, he wants to perform. At times you can't perform. It happens to everyone who has played international cricket.

"Our batsmen have not consistently done well in the series and we are feeling the pressure. If 3-4 (batsmen) are performing out of six, a few extra games can be given to individuals who have not done well. If you are struggling, then it becomes difficult to give that guy an extra game or two, which could make him change things," explained Dhoni.

"You have to go by the demands of the game. Right now, we are not in a good situation, we are in a do-or-die situation.

We would now play the best 11 available, subject to fitness."

Dhoni said it was important to choose your moment to drive home a point to a youngster who is not performing well.

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